Grant puts TAHS on track for safety

NEW-LOOK ENTRANCE — The north entrance to Tracy Area High School has a new look that features a large image of a panther, as well as the school’s name in large, blue letters.

Tracy Area Public School District one of 90 in state awarded safety grant

By Per Peterson

Inside and out, Tracy Area High School has seen its share of major upgrades over the last few years. Now, thanks to a $500,000 safety grant from the Minnesota Department of Education, another one might be around the corner.

TAHS was one of 90 public school districts or charter schools that was awarded grant money to be used for security and violence prevention improvements at 123 building sites in Minnesota. The funds can be used to “predesign, design, construct, furnish and equip school facilities, including renovating and expanding existing buildings.” It was chosen out of 1,187 applications, requesting a total of $255.5 million — more than 10 times the available amount of funding that is available.

“What caught my eye was the renovating and expanding,” TAHS Supt. Chad Anderson said.

Essentially, the current school, built in the late 1960s, is antiquated and doesn’t live up to today’s safety expectations. And Anderson has a vision that would reconfigure the school’s main offices in a way that would give employees in those offices a clear sightline to both main entrances.

“Our school was built in an era where we didn’t have a lot of the crisis situations or threats we face today,” he said. “You think of a half-million dollars — if you’re going to build a home for a half-million dollars, you could probably have the nicest home in the area. But when it comes to adding on a few offices in a school, that money can be burned up pretty quickly. We’ll have to really evaluate what we want to do.”

See this week’s Headlight-Herald, for more on this article.